LOS ANGELES (AP) That record-breaking streak in September meant little to the St. Louis Cardinals in a playoff series that ended with just one slider hanging.
Alex Reyes gave Chris Taylor a late-game home run just after entering the ninth inning, a practice that saw the Los Angeles Dodgers win 3-1 in the NL wildcard game on Wednesday night. and sent the Cardinals home.
Reyes, a 27-year-old right-hander, was called in after TJ McFarland took out Cody Bellinger with two strikeouts.
Bellinger stole second place, Reyes fell 2-1 behind, and Taylor sent an undoubtedly 420-foot and several-row-deep drive into the left field flag.
Cardinals teammate Adam Wainwright gave Reyes a big hug in the clubhouse after the game.
“I told him I love him, and I told him we love him,” Wainwright said. “That’s all you can say. He probably doesn’t want to hear anything. But he has an incredible future ahead of him, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
Reyes was an All-Star this season and converted his first 24 career stopping chances to set a major-league record. But on July 20, he lost a lead against the Chicago Cubs, and in early September he lost his closest job.
As the crowd of 53,193 celebrated the end of the first playoff game at Dodger Stadium with fans in two years, Reyes walked towards the dugout with his head down. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt gave him a pat.
“We’re not here without Alex Reyes,” Shildt said.
St. Louis was below 0.500 until August 10, and only took off after a franchise-record 17-game winning streak in September. The Cardinals finished with a 19-3 run to claim the NL’s second wild card.
They hit over .300 with runners in scoring position during their streak, but were 0 for 11 in those situations against the Dodgers, failing 11 overall.
Tommy Edman had three of the Cardinals’ five hits. Wainwright, 40, faced Max Scherzer, 37, threw 59 of 95 shots for catches but allowed just four hits, including Justin Turner’s first homer in the fourth, and lasted 5 1 / 3 rounds.
“I felt we had a team that was going to win the World Series, honestly,” said Wainwright. “We played a good team tonight.
Turner’s circuit countered the Cardinals’ run in the first, when Edman scored on wild ground.
Hours later, the Dodgers prepared for a Division Series clash with rival San Francisco. The Cardinals returned home, still chasing their first title since 2011.
“What a great team we can be when we play like we’re supposed to, and we played like that on the home stretch,” said Wainwright. “We didn’t win, but we made them nervous, didn’t we? “
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Suggest a correction